Celebrating Our Memphis Home

Memphis Day 2023 – dubbed Memphis Day Mayhem – showcased the best of the city with a little wrestling on the side! 

The morning kicked off in Hyde Chapel with Studio Band playing Memphis tunes and Headmaster Pete Sanders framing the school’s vital connection to the city. He cited the 572 alumni who hold seats on nonprofit boards, the 486 Owls who are high-ranking corporate officers, and the alumni behind 20 of the top private companies in Memphis.
“All of you have an inside track to leadership in the city, and that’s why we have Memphis Day, to give you a closeup view of the city.”

Keynote speaker Mr. Darrell Cobbins ’91 set the tone for the day. “I encourage all of you with the time that you have here to be leaders, to be courageous, to gather your intellect – which you do at this fine institution – and, most importantly, to take action,” said Cobbins, a community leader and president of Universal Commercial Real Estate. “Because being brave, being smart … sitting in the living room doesn’t accomplish anything. You have to take action.”

Cobbins thanked his mother, Mrs. Shirley Peace Cobbins, watching from the front row, for taking action 37 years ago to get his brother, Mr. Donnell Cobbins ’89, into MUS. “She had a vision for what she wanted her sons to accomplish with their lives,” he said. Some in her circle criticized her decision. 

“Mama, I thank you for your bravery and courage,” he said, as the students broke into applause.

After Donnell passed away in 2020, alumni and friends established the Cobbins Family Endowment, and its resources provide for the annual Memphis Day keynote speaker, among other school initiatives.

Community Presentations
Then the students – wearing Memphis Day Mayhem T-shirts donated by the headmaster – divided into three groups to hear speakers from the worlds of medicine, Downtown development, and sports.
  • Dr. Regan Williams, medical director of trauma services at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital discussed critical care in the city and the programs offered by Le Bonheur throughout the Mid-South.
  • Mr. Paul Young, president and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission addressed the importance of our Downtown “living room” and the area’s $5 billion in development, which will continue to attract new residents and tourists.
  • Mr. Dustin Starr, owner and host of Championship Wrestling from Memphis spoke about the history of wrestling in the city and its current renaissance.
Outreach Presentations
Classes broke into smaller groups to meet with a host of community outreach speakers who walked students through what they can do now and later in their lives to better the 901.
  • Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association Chief Development Officer Anna Kathryn Word spoke about MIFA’s mission to support the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis. MIFA expects to deliver over 600,000 meals this year.
  • Salvation Army Lt. Crystal Radi discussed how the organization aided her family throughout her young life. She now assists with Salvation Army fundraising and educates the public about its programs assisting veterans, victims of human and sexual trafficking, youth, and the homeless population.
  • Senior Director of Community Engagement at Catholic Charities of West Tennessee Kiki Hall told how the organization works to support people on the path from poverty to self-sufficiency through emergency services and housing and outreach programs.
  • Calvary Episcopal Church Community Liaison Darius (Mak) Clayton and MUS English Department Chair Elizabeth Crosby, who volunteers with Calvary’s Community Ministries, told the boys how to help people in need.
  • Room in the Inn Volunteer Coordinator Terri Dulaney described a typical day in the life of the inn and the ways in which their guests become homeless.
Memphis Day Wrestle Mayhem
History Instructor Jason Peters ’88 and Lacrosse Head Coach Joe Cummings took to the wrestling ring in Ross Lynn Arena to battle over who would get Mr. Peters’ office for the rest of the year. It was a tag-team bout for the ages with their partners, pro wrestlers Colton Cage and “Big Swole” Justin Cole. With Dustin Starr providing commentary, Cage and Peters were eventually pinned in front of the roaring student section.

The morning ended with games on Hull-Dobbs Field, inflatables in Todd-Snowden Gym, and video game trucks outside Stokes Stadium. Then many Owls headed to FedExForum to watch the varsity basketball team take on FACS, followed by tours of the National Civil Rights Museum, and later, a Grizzlies game where our a cappella group Beg To Differ sang the national anthem.

As for the controversy over who would inhabit the office in question, the Commissioner ruled that Mr. Peters’ shoulders never touched the mat for the three-count, and the wrestling match was ruled a no-contest. Therefore, the office would continue to be shared by the two combatants!